(Disclaimer: This is my own opinion, I'm not a writer or blogger or anything for the Baltimore Ravens. I'm just a guy who likes the Ravens, nacho cheese and stick shifts....because that's manly in this day and age).
I feel that Torrey Smith is not an upper-tier wide receiver. Not in an all around aspect anyway. Yeah I said it. I believe it too. However before I get crucified, let me break it down. As someone who isn't an X's and O's type of guy but who watches football with the intensity of a 16-year-old watching ... what 16-year-olds watch ... I find I need to split it into different categories to help in my explaining it to future ex-girlfriends and guys who drive automatics but claim to be football fans. So here's my viewpoint on it.
My categories as such are basic and dull, much like your standalone peanut butter and jelly which when combined together make an array of deliciousness that spike the synapses of your neurons much like Beyonce's halftime show.
It's simply broken down to Elite, Above Average, Average, Below Average and GTFO.
So here's my personal breakdown of Torrey Smith.
Speed: Elite.This is his hallmark. The guy lives behind all but the fastest defenders on go routes. He's so fast that on Madden I actually had someone pause and check the stats screen to see if, and I quote, "if his speed is set on Lucifer." Now I don't exactly know what that means in Barney terminology but it's supposedly really really fast. Smith had like 250 receiving yards in that game but I digress. He's fast. We know this. Let's move on.
Body Control: Above Average. What Torrey did to Champ Bailey was worse in my eyes than General Zod leveling Metropolis in Man of Steel. Now you might think that's not an even way to look at it, but the way I see it with the damage done to Bailey's masculinity, it's quite possible that Bailey has been rendered sterile and we will count the potential kids as casualties. Torrey has been able to make quite a few impressive catches when the occasion presents itself.
Catching: Average. Now while he has made his share of impressive catches, Smith is by no means a black hole. He only caught 65 out of 137 pass attempts with seven recorded drops, good for only a 47.4 catch percentage. This places Smith at No. 361 out of 413 receivers in 2013. Now, yes, many variables go into it such as Joe Flacco's propensity to go long on account of his stupid Iron Man plasma cannon arm, but Baltimore's No. 1 receiver needs to put up a higher catch radius going forward. I'm not the greatest believer in the potential of Marlon Brown and thus my opinion that Smith needs to do a better job of bringing the ball in. Which leads kinda into my next topic:
Separation: Average. If Smith can't run past you he will have pedestrian numbers. It's that simple. He broke off like gangbusters in the first eight games, gaining 707 yards on 36 catches. However, he disappeared afterwards, gaining only 421 yards on 29 catches. In gatherings with several football minded people and through reading the comments of several football boards, it seems that Smith has a hard time gaining separation. He isn't an Anquan Boldin type who will go and catch the ball while giving some poor soon-to-be posterized soul a piggyback ride.
Clutch/Heart: Elite. I put clutch and heart together because I believe they are the same thing. A player will simply will their team to win at times. The Ravens don't win against the Steelers in Week 9 of the 2011 season if Smith doesn't catch that TD with eight seconds to go. I firmly believe no one else will catch that pass. That game against New England? Who really can pull themselves together after a sibling died and go out and dominate like that? Nuff said.
Stats: Average. People tend to say stats don't matter. I disagree. Stats tell their own story. Smith's first two seasons were virtually similar. A few big games, but overall average performances. He would pop up on a big play or just dominate for a time, but then disappear. As the number one receiver on a team with targets consisting of Brandon Stokely, Tandon Doss, Marlon Brown and Dallas Clark, and with the run game looking like .....well ... you know, Smith should have had a monster year. As much as he was targeted, it could be argued that he was given that opportunity. In my eyes, despite a 1,000 yard season, he underachieved.
With all that said, how is it that I don't think he's an upper tier receiver? Most of that is positive right? Well, maybe as a basic fan ever who sucks at the X's and O's and goes off what he sees and studies, I feel that as a main focal point in an offense Smith should be showing us more.
Smith should be dominating games like Dez Bryant and Andre Johnson, for the sake of a lack of eloquence at the moment. So if the Ravens extend him, it shouldn't be on the level of a Vincent Jackson ($55.55 million) or Victor Cruz ($43 million). But I imagine it will be somewhere between the Golden Tate (five years, $31 million) and Eric Decker (five years, 36.25 million).